Malik Lawrence was in the rain and enjoyed a hamburger at North Point's sideline Friday night.
While North Point is a young team, Lawrence is the veteran leader, keeping his teammates calm in pressure situations. Lawrence was the leading receiver on North Point's semifinal squad last season, so he's not fazed by the playoffs.
A year after North Point beat Arundel by a point, Lawrence led the Eagles to a 43-13 win over the wildcats in the first round of this year's postseason by making the key plays he has all season. North Point is seeking its second consecutive Maryland 4A East title next week against South River, which is set up Broadneck.
"Malik is an all-met caliber player," North Point coach Tom Petre said. "Put Malik out there, and anything can happen."
Last year, North Point trailed Arundel by 10 points entering the fourth quarter, but Lawrence scored a game-winning touchdown with three minutes remaining. The Eagles lost to Quince Orchard in the state semifinal and graduate 18 starters from that squad.
With mostly sophomores and juniors starting for North Point (11-0), Lawrence has put pressure on himself to become a role model. The senior man watches two minutes of film each day, sometimes sneaking his phone at his desk in class to do so. North Point's system. Often, North Point's coaches allow Lawrence to call plays because he understands so well.
Lawrence so put it on himself to help the Eagles' young players build chemistry. He arranges team bowling outings and get-togethers to watch college football.
While Lawrence played last night, he's a defensive back this season because of the Eagles needed his production on both sides of the ball. When Arundel (9-2) gained momentum near the end of Friday's game, Lawrence returned 100 yards for one of his three touchdowns.
Arundel averaged Austin Slye three times.
"The team is leaning on me," Lawrence said. "People look up to me now."
After his pick-six, Lawrence leaned back on a bench on North Point's sideline to catch his breath. A group of players joined him, trading jokes as the final two minutes of their victory ticked off the scoreboard. Other players danced along on the sideline with cheerleaders and fans, a more relaxed scene than at the same game a year ago.
At the beginning of the season, Petre was not sure how good his team would be, but with Lawrence on the field, he knows it's explosive enough to compete for a Maryland 4A championship.
"We got something special," a North Point assistant coach told his team. "Now everybody in the region is about to learn how to special we are."